For Nikki Ramirez ’22, journalism is a form of activism.
“Writing is a way I can stand up for my community,” she says. “It’s a way for me to give a voice to people who don’t have one.”
Recently, Ramirez, who is a first-generation college student, was awarded an internship grant from the California Press Foundation. Each year, the foundation recognizes students who demonstrate an interest in pursuing careers in news with a $2,500 educational grant to help finance a six-week-long internship in a newsroom. This summer, Ramirez will return to her native Cathedral City, California, to work for the sports editor at the Desert Sun.
“I’m really excited about the internship—this is the first step in pursuing the career I want,” says Ramirez, who hopes to spend part of her internship writing about women in sports.
After taking a writing class during her first year, Ramirez became a member of the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies community and switched her major from biology to Journalism: Sports & Culture. In addition to her studies, she expresses her interests as a staff writer for U of R’s student-run newspaper, The Bulldog, and manager of the women’s softball team.
Ramirez credits the Johnston Center with helping her find her voice and points to her mentor, Professor of Science and Media Studies Tim Seiber, for advising her through the academic transition from one field to another. He also wrote a letter of recommendation for her to submit alongside her grant application and was one of the first people she told upon hearing of her award.
“Professor Seiber really encouraged me to pursue what I wanted, and he has been there through everything,” she says. “Being a part of the Johnston community is what I have enjoyed the most so far—I feel as though I’m allowed to be exactly who I want to be.”
The inclusive nature of Johnston has allowed Ramirez to grow, both personally and professionally. She recalls her experience as a shy first-year student and remembers spending the majority of her time in her residence hall.
“Something I’ve learned about myself is that I have a lot to say,” she says. “I have the freedom to speak my mind and pursue my passions as a member of the Johnston community, and being on staff at The Bulldog has given me a valuable platform.”
That freedom has translated into confidence in her future success. As she looks forward to the summer in a newsroom, Ramirez hopes her internship will lay a foundation for a future career at the Desert Sun.
“I definitely feel prepared for life beyond campus,” she says. “I know I’m on the right path.”
Learn more about the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies.